NHL Draft

How does the NHL Draft Lottery work? Here's everything to know before Tuesday's event

Let the ping-pong balls fall where they may.

NBC Universal, Inc.

The 2024 NHL Draft Lottery will be held Tuesday, May 7, and the Chicago Blackhawks are looking to get lucky for the second consecutive year.

How exactly does the draft lottery work? Here’s everything to know about the ping-pong ball process, as well as where the Blackhawks stand going into it.

What is the NHL draft lottery?

The NHL draft lottery is a weighted system that determines the early order for the NHL draft.

How many teams are in the NHL draft lottery?

The NHL draft lottery features the 16 teams that did not make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

How far can you move up in the NHL draft lottery?

There are two lottery drawings: one for the No. 1 pick and one for the No. 2 pick. Once the top two picks have been established, the remaining teams will be assigned picks Nos. 3-16 based on the inverse order of the regular season standings. Picks Nos. 17-32 are based on regular season standings and playoff results.

Through the lottery, teams can move as many as 10 spots up the NHL draft order compared to where they finished in the regular season standings. Therefore, 11 teams are in the mix for the No. 1 pick.

The team with the 12th-worst record can move up to No. 2 at the highest, the team with the 13th-worst record can move to No. 3 and so on.

Teams are only allowed to improve their draft positioning through the lottery twice in a five-year period beginning with the 2022 lottery.

How far can you move back in the NHL draft lottery?

Teams can only move two spots back in the draft order relative to their lottery odds. The team with the worst regular season record can pick at No. 3 at the latest, the team with the second-worst record can pick at No. 4 at the latest and so on.

What are the Blackhawks' lottery odds in 2024?

The Blackhawks have the second-highest odds to land the No. 1 overall pick at 13.5%, and they are guaranteed a Top 4 pick. San Jose has the best odds at 25.5%.

Here's a breakdown of where the Blackhawks are favored to land:

1. 13.5%

2. 14.1%

3. 30.7%

4. 41.7%

What happens if the Blackhawks win the lottery again?

Starting with the 2022 lottery, the NHL implemented a new rule that limits how many times a team can win the lottery.  No team can advance in the draft order by reason of a lottery win more than twice in a five-year span, which means if the Blackhawks win the lottery again this year, they wouldn't be "eligible" to win again until 2028, unless they finish dead-last and win by default.

That's a good problem to have though if you're the Blackhawks, who are looking to take the next step in their rebuild and have no plans to be a lottery team moving forward.

If the Blackhawks don't win the lottery, they're still going to get a terrific player. This is a deep draft class, and there are quite a few quality players that will go in the first round.

When is the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery?

The 2024 NHL Draft Lottery will be held at the NHL Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey, on Tuesday, May 7 with coverage beginning at 5:30 p.m. CT.


The lottery will be broadcast on ESPN. NBC Sports Chicago will air a draft lottery reaction special at 6:30 p.m. featuring Blackhawks Insider Charlie Roumeliotis and Blackhawks Pre and Postgame Live host Pat Boyle.

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